PlayOn User Reviews

CNET Editors' Rating 3.5 stars

Very good

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  • 4.0 stars

    "Works Great - depending on your needs"

    February 16, 2015  |   By idontspeakmonkey

    Version: PlayOn 3.10.20

    Pros

    Fills in the gaps from other streaming solutions

    Cons

    Takes some decent hardware and patience to make it work well.

    Summary

    PLAYON / PLAYLATER REVIEW -
    Think about what you need it for. It is not a one size fits all / replace everything you own solution. It fits some niches very well. For me the value is Hulu Basic Streaming and "Everything" Archiving for Timeshifted Viewing when traveling, or when my Tuners on my DVR are already busy.

    PLAYON
    I've been using the Playon Software on/off for about 5+ years. I took an old 2008 AMD Laptop I had laying around and installed the (now discontinued) Playon BASIC. This was so that I could get Hulu Basic and Amazon Prime Streaming content to my DLNA Blu Ray Player / TV (Before Smart TV's were common and affordable) and an older DLNA WDLive streaming box that did not come with any of the now common apps. For this use it has always worked well.

    PLAYLATER
    I recently looked at the Playon site and found out about Playlater. I travel all the time, and often internationally where I have very slow or expensive internet options. I ran an experiment before my recent trip to Brazil, and I put 4 seasons of shows on my $59 windows tablet and watched them on the 12 hour plane ride and also in the Hotel via the HDMI input common on most TV's.

    VALUE
    I have canceled Hulu Plus (saving $8 / month), so this upgrade has already paid for itself in just 3 months. Plus I was able to return my spare "Travel" Chromecast for $35, and my last failed attempt at a decent travel Router $50 (just could never get it all to work together consistently). Once HBO Go is totally ala carte, I'll probably drop cable TV (again) and just use Playon / Playlater to stream or archive video from the web. Saving about $100 / month over Cable TV.

    SUPPORT:
    I HAVE NEVER HAD BETTER SUPPORT FROM A SOFTWARE PROVIDER! My emails are answered quickly within hours and without the typical condensation found at other SW companies. They answer my questions directly no canned "Level 1" answers like ("have your tried rebooting").

    PROBLEMS:
    Most of my problems were around trying to get Playlater to work on an 8 year old AMD laptop. Streaming worked perfectly fine in standard definition, but I could only get recording to work at the second to lowest setting. I just deployed a cheap i7 Quad Core, 2012 vintage laptop from ebay and now I can run Playon and PlayLater at maximum settings at the same time (while doing other work) and they work perfectly.

    SUMMARY:
    I've tried and own several other streaming solutions and they all have their strength and weaknesses. So far no, one single device does everything I need. Playon helps to fill the gaps and shortcomings of the other solutions like (Roku, Chromecast, Amazon Fire, WDLive, DLNA, Build in Smart TV Apps)
    The software gets better with every release. The Playlater Software shows real potential to be a commercial DVR software alternative when it grows up. For now all recordings are manual. There are no season passes or cross platform searches, but I assume it will get there sooner or later.
    For me, having paid something like $40 total for 5+ years of use, I could not be happier.

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